1868's Malenab given second chance at life, insists on inspiring others

Published: Jun. 11, 2019 at 9:15 PM PDT
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"Time and an ear I think are what people who are struggling want the most," said Reno 1868 FC assistant coach Chris Malenab.

It's just another training day for Reno 1868. Players are running, soccer balls are moving, and the roasts are real.

"It looks like a donut, that was as big as him," Malenab said to midfielder Lindo Mfeka.

All in all a good practice for one of the United Soccer League's best clubs.

But not all days go this well, and for assistant coach Chris Malenab, it's the bad days that take a toll.

"My mind honestly is just in a dark hole," Malenab said.

Which happens to Chris on occasion. He lives with Bipolar II disorder, a condition doctors diagnosed him with more than a decade ago.

"It's almost like autopilot. I don't have a specific thought in my head," he said.

"I don't actually recall physically going to get my method of attempting suicide. It really was 'this is it'", he remembered. "Consciously putting my head down for half a second and thinking 'this is it. It's over, and I wasn't going to wake up the next morning,'" he remembered.

The disorder took control of Chris. He doesn't remember much from that night because he had clouded thoughts.

"I just realized I was alive and didn't know what was next. Had the attempt been successful I would have hurt a lot of people. I probably would not have been the one who suffered the most."

Once Chris had a clear head he started his road to recovery, no longer afraid to share his struggles.

"The takeaway is to not hide it anymore. I'm not in this fight alone. People would rather get a call from me at 2 o'clock in the morning than read an obituary at 7 o'clock in the morning."

Now Chris is getting calls. Since making his story public a number of people reached out to him about their struggles.

"Realizing I'm not a distraction or a burden is probably the biggest takeaway," he said about his road to recovery.

As a coach and a leader Chris hopes to use his new life to better the lives of those around him.

Chris concluded "each person has someone who loves them, who cares for them. At one point I felt like the people I'd leave behind would be better without me. That's not true. It would have traumatized a lot of people. At the end of the day sports is sports but life is life. Addressing things that are ending people's lives is important to me."

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019